The day before the House of Representatives plans to vote on the Republican bill to replace Obamacare, one Congress member crystallized exactly why his party is stuck in a Catch-22.
“For every vote you pick up on the right, you lose two on the left; for every vote you pick up on left, you lose two on the right,” Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY) said Wednesday. “This is the sausage making of compromise ... there is nothing you can do to help the right that doesn’t lose on the left, and vice versa.”
Collins is talking about the internal ideological rift within the House’s Republican caucus: The party’s far-right contingent, the Freedom Caucus, is panning the bill for not being conservative enough, while party moderates concerned with loss of health care coverage (Vox’s Andrew Prokop calls them the Coverage Caucus) decry any rightward shifts.
As of Wednesday afternoon, more than 22 Republicans maintained they would vote no on the bill on the House floor, enough to sink the bill. Already House Speaker Paul Ryan has made large concessions to the bill, to try to appease the party’s most conservative faction — but to little avail. Many of the party’s conservatives are still not on board.
If the AHCA doesn’t pass Thursday, Collins said, it’s not going to pass.
“I will just say rhetorically, what changes between tomorrow and another day? And the answer is nothing. The answer is nothing,” Collin, a close ally of President Donald Trump, said.
Still, he is confident that Ryan — with some “arm twisting” — will have the votes to pass the bill to the Senate. “I still believe when the president calls someone and says, ‘I need you on this, you are the difference between repealing Obamacare and Obamacare staying on the books, I need your vote’ — it’s very hard to say no to that.”
But Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), chair of the House Freedom Caucus, whom Trump called out by name during a Capitol Hill visit Tuesday, said he is determined to kill the bill on Thursday, and that he has the votes to do it.
There are no plans to delay the House’s vote on the bill so far, according to a senior GOP congressional aide.